THE CURE FOR HYPOCRISY

[SW341] 8/25/2018 message notes by 

Pastor Susan J. Wynn ©2018

The Cure for Hypocrisy

Text: Matthew 7:1-12

Jesus addresses these next verses to hypocrites, those who are religious counterfeits, actors assuming the role of the holy and righteous, but inwardly, they have impure, sin-filled hearts. It is the same way, in today’s church. 

But before I speak to today’s church, listen to Jesus’ words —

Verses 1-2 — 

Remember that Jesus is speaking to the multitudes, to His disciples, and to the scribes (experts in the Law of Moses) and Pharisees, who constantly tried to trick Him into speaking something contrary to the Law of Moses, so they could accuse and judge Him. And He is speaking just as boldly to today’s church!

Therefore, Jesus says, Do not judge so as to condemn to hell, and you will not be judged and condemned to hell. For in the way you judge and condemn, you will be judged and condemned by the Lord, and by your standard of measure for appropriate punishment, it will be measured to you — that is, you will be punished by the Lord. 

The scribes and Pharisees were hypocrites. They placed great burdens on the backs of the Jews, and condemned and shunned them for even the smallest infraction of ceremonial law. John the Baptist called them a brood of vipers (Matthew 3:7).

Despite their outward attempts to appear righteous and holy, the scribes’ and Pharisees’ actions revealed that their hearts were filled with sin. They even refused to recognize the Messiah who stood before them, because He threatened the power structure they had so carefully built. 

Here is a sample of Jesus’ indictments of them 

Matthew 23:13   “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.”

Matthew 23:15   “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel around on sea and land to make one proselyte (convert to Judaism); and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.”

Matthew 23:25   “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence. 26 “You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also.”

Matthew 23:27   “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. 28 “So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.”

Matthew 12:34 “You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.”

Matthew 23:33 “You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell?”

It was the scribes and Pharisees then, but I tell you there are many actors on the stage of today’s church — ones who are equally guilty and whose hearts are equally dark! They have a form of godliness, but renounce the Lord’s power to change a human heart (2Timothy 3:5)! Turn away from such men as these!

You know that you see it in the headlines all the time. It grieves me to report that what has been exposed is just the tip of the iceberg.

So, by the standard of measure used by the hypocrites, the actors, the religious counterfeits, it will be measured to them. They condemn, so they will be condemned. 

Verses 3-4 —

Hypocrites point at the speck in their fellow believer’s eye, but do not see the log (beam of timber) of hypocrisy in their own eye. Their beam of timber obscures their view! Blinded by their own hypocrisy, they certainly cannot offer to help their brother remove his speck! Indeed, they are blind guides! 

Behold! Is there a log in your own eye? Are you a religious counterfeit, an actor assuming the role of the holy and righteous, while you hide your own sin?

Are you quick to judge your brothers and sisters in Christ, so as to condemn them to hell? Do you see their sin and point a finger at them rather than calling them to repent so they are forgiven, and calling them to be filled with the Holy Spirit so their hearts are purified? 

God knows your heart! Nothing is hidden from the eyes of Him with whom you have to do (Hebrews 4:13)!

Many of today’s preachers and teachers have applied this whole passage to all Christians, rather than hypocrites. They conclude that Christians cannot judge anyone (including our fellow Christians), and that is a partial truth.

But here is the rest of the story, beloved — it is essential that we judge sin in the church. Paul writes 

1Corinthians 5:11  But actually I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler — not even to eat with such a one. 12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? 13 But those who are outside, God judges. REMOVE THE WICKED MAN FROM AMONG YOURSELVES (Deuteronomy 22:24, 24:7).

The Expositors Bible Commentary confirms that the expected reply to “Do you not judge those who are within the church?” is “Yes!” The brother who sins must be removed, until he repents. 

John Wesley’s penitent bands served that purpose. Sinning Christians weren’t condemned to hell, nor were fingers pointed at them, in his “societies.” But they were removed from the congregation until they heeded Christ’s words, saw the poverty of their hearts, and cried out for Him to change them. When Wesley saw the fruit of repentance in them, they were invited to rejoin the rest of the believers.

Verse 5 —

Jesus boldly and frankly says, You hypocrites, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. How do you, a hypocrite like I used to be, take the log out of your own eye? By heeding Jesus’ words, seeing the poverty of your heart, and crying out for Him to change it. The beam of timber will instantly be gone, when He answers by crucifying the sin nature in you and filling you with His Spirit! Then, blessed will you be!

Verse 6 —

Do not give what is holy to dogs, or they will tear you to pieces. Do not cast your pearls before swine, or they will trample you with their feet. 

Not everyone will receive the truth you give them. Therefore, be filled with the Holy Spirit so you have discernment as to the state of the hearts of some. You must give (speak) the treasures of the gospel, which is holy, and which is the pearl of great price (Matthew 13:46). But expect dogs and swine to retaliate, just as they did throughout the Book of Acts!

Verses 7-8 —

But here is the cure for hypocrisy! Ask (beg, crave) and the cure will be given to you. Seek (passionately desire) the cure, and you will find it. Knock (on the door of heaven, the source of the cure), and it will be opened to you.

Why should you ask, seek and knock? For (because) everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him to knocks, it will be opened! And no one can shut what Jesus opens (Isaiah 22:22)! Blessed are you if you ask, seek and knock!

What are you asking, seeking and knocking in order to receive? Money? Fame? Success? Happiness? Peace? Joy? He will not open to you. But ask, seek and knock for this one thing only — heart change by way of the infilling of the Holy Spirit! Then He will open the door to you! Hallelujah!

Verses 9-11 —

If you ask for a loaf of bread, no man among you will give you a stone. If you ask for a fish, no man among you will give you a snake. 

So, if you who are evil (because the sin nature in you is alive and well) know to give your children what they ask for, then how much more will your Father in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him? 

What is the good He will give? The infilling of the Holy Spirit, just as the Spirit-inspired Luke writes in Luke 11:13!

Verse 12 —

Therefore, because your Father in heaven gives what is good to those who ask Him, you do the same — “treat people the way you want them to treat you.” But that is a poor interpretation, inserted by the NASB editors. 

Your Father in heaven gives what is good (the Holy Spirit) to those who ask Him! So, go and do likewise, after you are filled! This is the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets! Give the Holy Spirit to those who ask you, just as Paul always did —

Acts 19:1   It happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the upper country and came to Ephesus, and found some disciples. 2 He said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said to him, “No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” 3 And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” And they said, “Into John’s baptism.” 4 Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” 5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them (entered them), and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying. 7 There were in all about twelve men.

Now, I must speak bluntly to today’s believers. As I said at the beginning, there are many hypocrites among the congregations of today’s sin-soaked church. 

Today’s hypocrites profess to love the Lord but are actors who, outside and within the church walls, commit immorality, covet power, and rail against others behind their backs. Peter calls such ones stains and blemishes who revel in their deceptions, and goes on to say much more about them, in 2Peter 2:13-22! Go there with me!

Painful words produce godly sorrow that leads to repentance (2Corinthians 7:10). Many churches are dying because no painful words are spoken to the hypocrites. Therefore, for their lifetimes, they maintain their positions in the church. 

But what will the hypocrites say when they stand before Jesus? And what will their leaders say, for they did not speak painful words to the hypocrites, for fear of reprisal and less money in the offering plate?

Many who are being drawn by the Father to His Son come to church, but find hypocrisy there. So they leave and never return. If this is Christianity, they will say, who wants it? That is why Paul warns the believers at Corinth —

1Corinthians 5:11 But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler — not even to eat with such a one. 

Beware, believer! Do not be counted among the hypocrites, but heed Jesus’ words today. If you see yourself in Jesus’ words, that means you have headed His words and have seen the poverty-stricken condition of your heart. 

Now that you have seen your heart’s darkness, cry out for Him to change your heart, for He will do it! Then, supremely blessed will you be, for you will be free of your hypocrisy and filled with His Spirit and His love!

Beloved, Matthew 7:1-12 has been rendered painless and toothless by a stubborn and willful people — even the church! I have been sent to call you to sorrow that is according to God’s will, and to repentance. I have spoken the truth. Lord Jesus, may many in Your church repent! Amen.

Advertisements

THE MARKS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, Part 2

[SW340] 8/18/2018 message notes by 

Pastor Susan J. Wynn ©2018

The Marks of His Righteousness, Part 2

 Text: Matthew 6:16-34

What are the marks of God’s righteousness in a believer? When you are filled with His righteousness, your eye is single — you are focused entirely on Him! But Jesus says those whose hearts have not yet been changed are focused on themselves and their needs and desires. 

Heed His words, see the poverty-stricken condition of your heart, and cry out for Him to change it! He surely will, and blessed will you be!

In this passage, Jesus Christ utterly destroys the underpinnings of the prosperity and success gospels that are so popular in today’s church, so that these false gospels collapse into the dust. Amen!

Verses 16-18 —

Those who fast in order to be noticed by others have their reward in full — they are noticed by men and praised for their righteousness. They disfigure their faces with ashes or makeup, so men see that they are fasting. 

When they fast, they do not wash, nor anoint their heads with oil (so their hair looks disheveled), to make it obvious that they are fasting. Their outward act of righteousness mean nothing to God, because they are doing it for man’s praise. They will receive no reward from Him. They will not enter the kingdom of heaven.

But those who are filled with His righteousness anoint their heads with oil and wash their faces when they fast. We fast in secret because we do not want our fasting to be noticed by men, but by our Father who is in secret (hidden). Our eyes are on Him whom we love with His divine love! And He sees us, and rewards us with eternal life, here and now! And when our earthly tents fall away, we go to be with Him!

Verse 19 —

Many store up for themselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. Preachers of the prosperity gospel tell believers that God wants them to have lots of money, and many possessions. It is an ear-pleasing message, and they have many followers! 

But what is the focus of such a gospel? Earthly treasures! Their followers’ eyes are on riches for themselves, not on Christ! The greedy sin nature in them is still alive and well, their hearts are yet poverty-stricken, and they are in danger of losing the true treasure, eternal life, unless they heed, see, and cry out for Him to change their hearts!

Jesus says, Do not store up these things for yourself. They will rust and decay and be stolen. Thus, the prosperity gospel is destroyed, in a few simple words from the Lord. And the success gospel, which says that God wants you to be successful, is simply a variation of the prosperity gospel. If you are successful, you will be rich with earthly treasures. Both gospels play to the sin nature’s greed.

It is as James warned the believers from the twelve tribes, who were scattered because of persecution, and were greedy for personal riches —

James 1:11 For the sun rises with a scorching wind and withers the grass; and its flower falls off and the beauty of its appearance is destroyed; so too the rich man in the midst of his pursuits will fade away (be extinguished, like a fire).

Verse 20 —

But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, for those treasures will not be destroyed or stolen. When you are filled with His righteousness, you have sought and received true riches — the infilling of His Holy Spirit, intimate fellowship with the Father and the Son, and a purified heart.

Then your eyes are on Him alone! He will use you greatly to bring many souls to Himself, and set many captives free! And when you stand before Him, He will say to you —

Matthew 25:21 “His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’”

Oh, the joy of my Master! That is the true reward, beloved! That is the true treasure! Store up treasures in heaven, by being filled with His Spirit and His righteousness! Blessed will you be!

Verse 21 —

Jesus boldly teaches that where your treasures are, your heart will be, also. Where is your heart? What are you seeking? 

Are your eyes on Him, or on earthly treasures and pleasing yourself? See the poverty of your heart, and cry out to Him to change it. Then, your eyes will be on Him alone, and blessed will you be!

Verse 22 —

The eye is the lamp of the body. It is the means by which we see, it lights our way. Spiritually, if your eye is clear (single, focused entirely on Him), your whole body will be full of light. 

What light? His light! It will shine from you, because His light has filled you. The Father and the Son are light; there is no darkness in them (1John 1:5)! And you now have their divine nature in you! There is no longer any darkness in you — your sin nature has been crucified (Galatians 5:24). Hallelujah!

You are filled with Christ’s righteousness! The Father, the Son and the Spirit fully indwell you (John 14:23)! 

Nations will come to your light, and kings to the radiance of your shining (Isaiah 60:3)! Blessed are you, for you have heeded His words, seen the poverty of your heart, and cried out for Him to change it! And He has done it!

Verse 23 —

But if your eye is bad (evil), your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you (what is shown to be in you) is darkness, how great (how much) is that darkness! Your eyes are not focused on Him but on yourself and on worldly desires for honor from men, success, and riches. How great is the darkness that is in you! It is so great that it has filled you and blinded you!

Oh, may you heed, for then you will see His light shining on you, and you will cry out, and He will remove the darkness that is in you, and fill you with His Spirit and His light and His righteousness, just as He did me! 

Verse 24 — 

Jesus says no one can serve (be in bondage, be a slave to) two masters. He will either hate the one and love the other, or will be devoted to one and despise the other. 

You cannot serve God and mammon (earthly treasures). You either serve God, or wealth.

If you serve wealth, you love wealth. It is your god. So, you hate God, in comparison to the god of wealth. If you are devoted to the god of wealth, you will despise God, in comparison to the god of wealth, upon which your eyes are focused.

Oh, beloved! Do you see the falseness of the prosperity and success gospels? He is showing you! See, heed and cry out! He will change your heart, and fill you with His Spirit and His righteousness, and your eyes will be on Him alone, and you will serve Him alone!

Verse 25 — 

For this reason — because you cannot serve both God and the god of wealth — Jesus says to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?

If you worry about such things, you reveal that your eyes are on earthly treasures, so you can have the drink and food and clothing that you crave. Your eyes are focused on your desires, your self, and not on the Lord. Your heart has not yet been changed. Heed, see, cry out, beloved!

Life is more than food, drink and clothing! Those who are filled with the Holy Spirit have obeyed Jesus’ command to stay (Luke 24:49) and wait (Acts 1:4-5, 8). They have passionately sought and have been filled with Christ’s life, and He is the Bread of life! They have passionately sought His living water! They have passionately sought to be inwardly filled with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, so they are temples for the Holy Spirit! Have you become His temple?

Verses 26-30 —

Jesus shames believers who worry about (take thought of, are anxious about) what they will eat, what they will drink, and what they will wear. He shows you your heart!

The birds of the air do nothing but live, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth more than them, to Him?  

Can you add a single hour to your life by worrying? He knows the number of your days, beloved. He sits above time, so He knows the end from the beginning —

Isaiah 46:10  Declaring the end from the beginning, 

And from ancient times things which have not been done, 

Saying, “My purpose will be established, 

And I will accomplish all My good pleasure . . .” 

And why are you worried about clothing? The lilies of the field do not toil, yet they are arrayed more gloriously than King Solomon in all his glory. If God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you?

You of little faith, Jesus says. Don’t you trust your Father? Your worrying reveals that you are not yet able, because your eyes are focused on your desires. 

It was the same with His disciples (and with me) before they experienced their own personal Pentecost and were filled with His Spirit. They thought His kingdom was of this world, and that He was going to free them from Roman rule! That was their desire. 

But His desire was to purify their hearts, and establish His kingdom in them! Thanks be to God, when He fills you, He establishes His kingdom in you, and your eyes are focused on Him alone!

When you cry out for Him to change your heart, you will no longer take thought of such things. He will fill you with His Spirit, and your eyes will be focused on Him. You will no longer be littlefaiths, but will be blessed, indeed!

Verses 31-32 —

Jesus commands, do not worry. Those who do not believe into Him worry about such things! They eagerly seek (intensely crave) all these things! Your Father knows that you need food and drink and clothing. 
Verse 33 —

But seek after (passionately pursue), His kingdom and His righteousness to be established in your heart! And all that you need will be added (given) to you, by Your Father in heaven.

When your eyes are on Him, and He has filled you with His Spirit and His light and His righteousness, you will not crave what the world craves! The self-centered gospels of prosperity and success will mean nothing to you. And you will be light in the darkness, His witnesses here! Hallelujah!

Verse 34 —

Do not focus your eyes on tomorrow. Look to Him! You will, when you are filled with His Spirit and His righteousness!

You may say, why is it wrong to be anxious and take thought of tomorrow? Many Christians whose hearts are not yet changed do such things. Many of them are so anxious and fearful that they seek psychiatric help and are diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. Their eyes are not yet focused on the Lord, but on their natural circumstances. Oh, if they would just heed, see and cry out, the Lord would change their hearts, and they would no longer be anxious about anything!

Tomorrow will worry about itself. Sufficient to each day is its own wickedness That is the original Greek-to-English of, “Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Each day will have evil in it, for there will be evil in the world until the day of the Lord. He is not the author of evil, but hearts that reject Him are under the thumb of the evil one, Satan, a created cherub who fell from heaven because of his pride. 

But if you heed His words, see the poverty of your heart, and cry out for Him to change it, He will! Beloved, He will deliver you from false gospels, and from your sin nature, and He will fill you with His Spirit, His righteousness, and His divine nature! Then, your eyes will be on Him alone, and blessed will you be! 

Lord Jesus, may hearts respond to  your words, and the gospels of the god of wealth be exposed. Amen!

THE MARKS OF HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS, PART 1

[SW339] 8/11/2018 message notes by 

Pastor Susan J. Wynn ©2018

The Marks of His Righteousness, Part 1

 Text: Matthew 6:1-15

What are the marks of one who is filled with the Holy Spirit and the very righteousness of Christ? And what are the marks of one who is self-righteous? Jesus Christ continues the Sermon on the Mount, revealing your heart to you, just as He did with me! 

Paul writes, None are righteous, not even one (Romans 3:10). That is why we need a Savior, to reconcile us to God, and a Sanctifier, to fill us with the Holy Spirit and the righteousness of Christ. 

Heed His words, see the poverty-stricken condition of your heart, and cry out to Him to change it! Blessed will you be, if you do it! He will fill you with His Spirit, and His righteousness, and your heart’s motive will be to glorify Him, and not yourself. 

In these verses, notice the phrases Jesus uses —  noticed by men, honored by men, seen by men. In today’s church, there are those who boast about the number who attend their church, the beauty and vastness of their buildings, the money they raise, and the good works they do — not “God works,” but the same kind of good works that any benevolent organization does. They seek to be noticed, honored, and seen by men!

Verse 1 —

So Jesus says, Beware of practicing (doing) your righteousness before men, to be noticed by them. If you seek to be noticed and admired by men, for all of your good deeds, you reveal your heart’s motive! It is your righteousness you want people to see. 

O believer, you will have no reward with your Father in heaven. You have received your reward from men — their praise of you, their honor of you. But God is not praised and honored by what you are doing. So your actions mean nothing, in God’s eyes. 

Verse 2 —

So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.

What reward do you have, if you seek to be honored by men? You will be honored by men, but not by God. You want everyone to see your righteousness and honor you! You want them to say, Wow! How generous you are! And that is your reward in full. You will receive no reward from your Father in heaven. Your motive is that men honor you, not God.

Verses 3-4 — 

But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

When you are filled with God’s righteousness, and you give to the poor, your right hand will not know what your left hand is doing. You will not trumpet (announce) what you are doing, nor will you keep a personal record of what you give. You will just give, secretly. 

And your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. Why? Your motive is His divine love, with which He has filled you. When that is your heart motive, all that you do is done by and for Him, working through you. It is the mark of His righteousness, in you. And what is your reward, from your Father?

Matthew 25:34   “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.’”

But when you are giving so men will notice, honor, and see you, though you address Jesus as your Lord, here is your reward —

Matthew 25:46 “These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

O believer, seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness (Matthew 6;33)!Then, there is no motive in your heart other than God’s divine love with which He has filled you, and you bear the marks of His righteousness, and you will be blessed of your Father in heaven! 

Oh, blessed will you be if you heed His words, see the poverty-stricken condition of your heart, and cry out for Him to fill you with His Spirit, His love, His righteousness! 

Verse 5 —

When you pray, do not  be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners, so that they may be seen by men. 

They do these things so men notice and say, “Oh! What a fine prayer!” They love to do it! So, they have their reward in full — the praise of men, but no praise from God.

Why? They pray for themselves, to be seen by others. The Pharisee, in Luke 18:11 and forward, was not praying to God at all, but telling God how good he was! But the tax collector who stood some distance away, pounding his chest in mourning, crying out for mercy because he saw the condition of his heart, was justified (made righteous by God). 

He exalts the humble, not the one who exalts himself —

1Peter 5:6   Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time. 

If you humble yourself by acknowledging the state of your heart and crying out for Him to change it, He will fill you with His righteousness, and blessed will you be!

Verse 6 —

But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door, and pray to your Father who is in secret and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. 

If you are filled with Christ’s righteousness, you will go into your inner room, close your door, and pray to your Father who is in secret (not physically seen). You pray in secret, and you pray to Him. And your Father who sees what you do in secret will reward you, for you are serving Him, and not yourself.

 What do you pray, when you are filled with His righteousness? You will see it in verses 9-13. 

Verse 7 —

And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles (unbelievers) do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words.

When you are filled with Christ’s righteousness, you know your prayer is heard! There is no need to ask over and over again. The man born blind, who now sees because Christ healed him, says —

John 9:31 “We know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is God-fearing and does His will, He hears him.”

The only prayer the Lord will hear from a sinner or a sinning believer is this — “I repent! I see my heart! Only Your Son can save me from myself! Please forgive me and receive me!”

Do you pray in order to be seen by men? Then He will require the same prayer from you.

Verse 8 —

So do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him. 

If you are filled with His righteousness, you know that your Father knows what you need before you ask Him! So you do not pray, “Give me, give me, I need, I want!” You know He will meet your needs, for you have heeded Jesus’ words, seen the condition of your heart, and cried out for Him to change it! With great passion, you have sought His kingdom to be established in you, and His righteousness to fill you, and He has done it! Blessed are you!

Verse 9 —

Pray then, in this way: Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name. 

Earlier I said I would show you how you pray, when you are filled with His righteousness? You pray for your Father’s kingdom to be established in human hearts, and His righteousness to fill every human heart!

Our Father who is in heaven! Father of us, in the heavens! Abba! My Father!  

Let Your name, Your holy character and reputation, be venerated, revered, greatly respected and honored.

Verse 10 —

Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

I am asking you to establish Your kingdom in every human heart, just as you have done in me. 

I am asking You to fill every heart with Your Holy Spirit and Your righteousness and Your divine love, so everyone will be able to say 

Psalm 40:8  “I delight to do Your will, O my God; Your Law is within my heart.”

I am asking You, my Father, to establish Your kingdom here on earth, so Your will is done just as it always has been in heaven, where Your kingdom is established, and Your will is always done. 

Your kingdom is not of this world, but a kingdom that is already established in heaven, and a kingdom that you establish in human hearts — 

John 18:36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.”

Luke 17:20   Now having been questioned by the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God was coming, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; 21 nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst (within you).”

Verse 11 — 

Give us this day our daily bread.

Those who are filled with His righteousness ask our Father to give us this day our daily bread. He is our Provider, not only of the bread we eat, which is life-giving in the natural, but the Bread of Life, Jesus Christ, and the Bread of the Word of God, which nourishes our spirits. We depend on Him entirely.

Verse 12 — 

And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

And we pray, Father, forgive us our debts (unintentional sin that does not violate God’s Law). We are filled with Your Spirit and Your righteousness, so we no longer willfully disobey you, but we freely acknowledge that we may offend someone, and not realize it. Forgive us of such things, in the same way that we have already forgiven others.

If you are a believer who is willfully disobeying God, have been warned to repent, and continue to sin, He will deal with you the same way He deals with unbelievers. Do not test Him! Just as with unbelievers, you must immediately turn away from your sin, repent from your heart, ask Him to forgive you and most importantly, ask Him to change your heart1

Verse 13 —

And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

Father, do not let us succumb to temptation.  Everyone is tempted, but when you are filled with His righteousness, you are able to resist temptation, because He has purified your heart! 

You are fully submitted to God, which is a mark that you are filled with His Spirit and His righteousness. You have drawn near to God. He is in you! Your hands are cleansed, your heart has been made pure! Listen to James’ exhortation of the Jewish believers scattered because of persecution —

James 4:7 Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 

8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

Do not let us succumb Who is the tempter? Satan, just as he tempted Jesus in the wilderness, in Matthew 4:1-11, and just as He tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden, in Genesis 3:4-5. He has not changed. 

Why do you ask this of your Father? Because His is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen! This is not in early manuscripts, but it is surely true! 

Verses 14-15 —

For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.”

You may say, Why do I have to forgive others when they sin against me? Don’t I have the right to be angry, to hold a grudge, to take legal action against them? 

I ask you this — didn’t God forgive you, though He had every right to punish you? 

Beware! You reveal your heart’s poverty! Remember that anger’s root is hatred, just as with murder. And your hatred means your sin nature is alive and well, and your heart has not yet been changed.

When you have been filled with His righteousness, there is no longer any hate in your heart. So you freely forgive!

Beloved, you must allow the Lord to change your heart, to take out the hate that makes you stubbornly refuse to forgive others! I see it in many believers. But If you do not forgive, your Father will not forgive you! 

Do you understand what Jesus is saying? When you stand before Him in the day of judgment, He will judge you and find you guilty as charged, and it will be for you as it was for the one in Matthew 18. He was forgiven a debt he could never repay (just as God forgave you when you believed into Christ). But he would not forgive his fellow man for a small debt. And so his impossible-to-pay debt was no longer forgiven, and he was thrown into hell. He would never be able to pay “every last cent!”

Oh, beloved! Heed Jesus’ words! See your poverty-stricken heart! Only he can change it, filling it with His Spirit and His righteousness and His love, filling it with His divine nature! Then you will be able to obey Jesus’ command that you be His witness here — that you walk as He walked in this world, and that you be like Him in this world! 

If you ask Him to change your heart, He will do it! Then, blessed will you be!

BE PERFECT?

[SW338] 8/4/2018 message notes by 

Pastor Susan J. Wynn ©2018

Be Perfect? 

Text: Matthew 5:38-48

Be perfect? Yes! Jesus Christ says to you, “Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.” This is a command from Him to Christians. Something must happen in our hearts, after salvation! He will show you your heart today, so you cry out for Him to change it. Then, blessed will you be!

Verse 38 —

You have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. This law, from Exodus 21:24, concerned a man who strikes another man’s pregnant wife, causing her to give birth prematurely, so that her baby dies. And if she dies, it is life for life (see Exodus 21:23). 

But this law was twisted, in order to make it an excuse for taking revenge against someone who does any kind of wrong toward you. It was interpreted that way so there would be a legal excuse not to forgive, and a legal excuse to strike back.

Verse 39 —

So Jesus teaches the truth to God’s people, including Christians. But I say to you, do not resist (oppose) an evil person, but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. 

You say that to me, Jesus? You can’t be serious! I can’t do that! If someone hits me, I will hit them back! I have the right to do it. They hit me first!  

That is the sin-stained human heart speaking. But you will turn the other cheek to the one who slaps you, when your heart is filled with the perfect love of God, beloved! 

Did Jesus strike back? Did God punish you in the way you deserved to be punished? No, your Father in heaven was struck by you on His right cheek when you sinned against Him. 

But He turned His left cheek to you — His Son, Jesus Christ, whom He sent to bear the punishment you deserved, on a cross. Jesus was struck, indeed! But He did not strike back. Instead, He offered Himself on your behalf. 

Jesus calls you to do the same, to offer yourself entirely to Him, to ask Him to fill you with His Holy Spirit and God’s perfect love! But you will only do it if you heed His words, see your poverty-stricken heart, and cry out for Him to change it. Then, He will make you perfect in that same way — selfless and self-giving — so you are His witnesses here! Heed! See! Cry out! Then, blessed will you be!

Verses 40-42 —

If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, give him your coat also. Give him your shirt, which is closest to your body, AND your outer garment. Walk away naked, rather than protest your treatment. It is a command from Jesus Christ.

That’s not fair, Jesus! I have my rights! I should counter-sue! You want me to give him even more than he asked for, even my last stitch of clothing? Beloved, was Jesus not naked, when He hung on a cross for you? He did it out of selfless, perfect love!

Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two.

That’s not fair, Jesus! I was forced to go. I didn’t want to go. I was forced to carry a burden for someone else. I didn’t want to do it. And  you want me to go farther than I was forced to go? 

Did Jesus not go to a cross for you? He was not even forced to do it, but willingly carried the burden of your sin upon Himself —

John 10:14-15, 17 “I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, 15 even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep . . . 15 “For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again.

Go and do likewise. But you cannot, unless you heed His words, see your heart’s poverty, and cry out for Him to change it by crucifying your sin nature and filling you with His Spirit and His love.

Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.

That’s not fair, Jesus! What if he doesn’t pay me back? I need my money for the things I want! I, I, and I! Do you see it?

Beloved, you are commanded to offer yourself as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1). When you obey His command, you die to your self-interest and self-centeredness, and yet walk away from the altar alive — changed in a moment of time, filled with His Spirit and His perfect love! 

Was Christ self-centered when He gave up His rights to Himself, in order to die on a cross, be raised on the third day, ascend to the Father, and pour out His Spirit? When you give up your rights to yourself, in view of God’s great mercy toward you, He will see to it that you live, but you will live for Him, and not yourself! 

I tell you the truth, that altar does a great work! Sin is burned out. Desire for revenge is burned out. Lust is burned out. When it is done in that moment of time, you walk away from the altar, completely free and completely His! You don’t give a hoot about your rights. You are no longer focused inwardly upon yourself, but outwardly, as Christ was, upon His wayward people and a lost and dying world!

Verses 43-45 —

Jesus says,You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy (those who are actively hostile toward you).

Love your neighbor is surely from the Law of Moses. But “hate your enemies” is taken out of context by those who want to justify the hate in their hearts. Here is the Law —

Leviticus 19:18 ‘You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the LORD.”

So where did “hate your enemies” come from? Israel was instructed not to pray for the peace of such ones. There was nothing about hate in that command. 

But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may become sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”

“Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you?” That’s not fair, Jesus! I can’t love someone who used me and abused me! You are right. You can’t until you are filled with His perfect love. 

And when you are filled with His love, you will become sons of your Father in heaven, O believer. You are saved, but if you sin by hating your enemy, you are not His son, but a slave to sin, and will not remain in the house forever (John 8:35). 

Your Father in heaven causes the sun to rise on both friend and foe, and causes the blessing of rain to fall on both friend and foe. Why? So that His foes may see Him, and turn from their wicked ways! I saw! I turned! Praise God!

If you bless those who curse you (Romans 12:14), because of God’s divine love that has filled your heart, blessed are you! He has freed you from being a slave to sin, including the sin of hatred.

Love your enemy, and pray for those who persecute you. Then you will be sons of your Father in heaven. You will love with His perfect love. Then, you will say, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do,” just as Jesus did from the cross (Luke 23:34). Then you will be like Him in this world! Blessed will you be!

Verses 46-47 —

Jesus says, For if  you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors (who cheated everyone who came to them) do the same? If you greet (embrace) only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles (unbelievers) do the same?” 

But how can I love those who do not love me? How can I embrace people who cheat me? Why can’t I just love those who love me? The operative word is “me.” As long as “me” is in the equation, you can’t love those who do not love you, and you can’t embrace those who are not your brothers. 

Did God not express His perfect love toward all humanity by sending His Son to die, so we may be reconciled to Him and have eternal life? Was His Son not cheated, mistreated and unloved by those who should have recognized that He had His Father’s eyes? 

Did God not raise Him? Did Jesus Christ not pour out the Holy Spirit so you may cry out for your heart to be changed? When He changes it, the “me” in you is forever removed! He will do it, if you heed, see and cry out! Then, blessed will you be!

Verse 48 —

Jesus concludes Chapter 5 of the Sermon on the Mount with this command — Therefore, you shall be perfect, as your Father in heaven is perfect.

This is directed at you, O believer! And you will again say, That’s not fair, Jesus! I can’t be perfect! You are right — you can’t. 

But when He fills you with His Spirit, He will fill you with His perfect love, and then you will love as He loves. You will love with the same love the Father has for the Son. That is the only way you can obey all of His commands in Chapter 5. 

The Apostle John writes — 

1John 4:12 No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.

Jesus prays for you, in John 17:26 —

John 17:26 “ . . . and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.

When you are filled with His Holy Spirit, Christ indwells you fully, the Father indwells you fully, and you are filled with the perfect, divine love of God. Then you are able to be perfect as He is perfect, loving His perfect love. There is no longer any “me, I, my” or “that’s not fair” in your heart. You will truly be His witnesses here (Acts 1:8). 

Do not misunderstand the Lord. When you are His witness, you will call all men to repent (just as He did), and your Spirit-filled words will convict your hearers regarding sin, the righteousness of God in sending His Son, and the coming judgment. If you do not warn, you do not love with His perfect love!

Jesus, may your church heed Your words, see the poverty of their hearts, and cry out to You, for you will surely fill them with Your Holy Spirit and Your perfect love! Then, blessed will they be! Amen.